- Dopamine is important but you should avoid overstimulating it
- Sufficient dopamine can make you feel motivated and excited
- Exercise regularly for sufficient dopamine production
Dopamine is one of the many neurotransmitters or chemical messengers produced by the brain. Everything from motivation, to pleasure, focus, attention or the feel-good factor is derived from dopamine. Dopamine is generated in the brain, but poor lifestyle can reduce dopamine production. Heavy dose medication can also influence dopamine production in the brain. Dopamine is also known as feel-good hormone or motivation molecule. For instance, the anticipation of a reward automatically generates a lot of dopamine in the brain. The idea of rewarding children is excellent for boosting dopamine production in children, mentions lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho in one of his recent live sessions on Facebook.
Dopamine: why is the motivation hormone so important for you
1. It is important to know that while sufficient dopamine production is important for the feel-good factor and motivation, you should avoid its overstimulation as well. So, you should reward your kids for good behaviour, but not spoil them with chocolates or expensive gifts for merely eating dinner. While rewarding them when required will make them feel motivated (thanks to dopamine), spoiling them will result in overstimulation of dopamine, which makes dopamine functioning nearly ineffective.
2. Similarly, dopamine overstimulation occurs when you overdo consumption of nicotine, caffeine and sugary drinks to name a few. Addiction usually occurs in people with low dopamine levels, informs Luke.
3. Lack of dopamine or low dopamine production can result in fatigue, mood swings, low focus, insomnia and intense sugar and caffeine cravings.
4. Less dopamine production can result in ADHD in children. It can also increase risks of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease in adults.
How can you boost dopamine levels naturally?
1. Exercise: Exercise can release both endorphins and dopamine. They are just another reason for you to include exercise in your daily routine. From weight loss to preventing diseases and ensuring good health, exercise can help you in more ways than you can imagine.
2. Meditate: Benefits of meditation for depression, anxiety and low motivation are even been backed by science. Try to meditate for 10 minutes or more daily and it will give an automatic boost to your dopamine levels.
3. Sleep well: A good night's sleep can work wonders for dopamine production in the body. Sleeping well will automatically prepare your brain to produce sufficient dopamine. You will not be able to produce sufficient dopamine if you have not slept well or are sleep deprived.
4. Massages: Massages can result in dopamine production. To relieve yourself of stress and calm down, go for a weekly massage. It comes with the added benefit of producing dopamine.
5. Music: Listening to your favourite music can release dopamine in brain and induce feeling of pleasure and calmness.
6. Diet: Tyrosine is an amino acid that produces dopamine. It is present in almonds, bananas, avocado, eggs, bean, fish and chicken, dairy products, chocolate (preferably dark), and nuts and seeds to name a few. All this is a part of a simple balance diet that can work for both vegetarians, vegans and non-vegetarians.
7. Eat more protein: The body needs protein to produce amino acids and thus consuming sufficient protein every day is important to stimulate dopamine production in the body.
8. Consume sufficient Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3: A balanced diet can ensure sufficient levels of Vitamin B12 and D3, thus facilitating optimum dopamine production.
9. Travel and adventure: Take a holiday as frequently as possible, try new things and be adventures. They will together stimulate dopamine and motivate you to do better things in life.
10. Try something new: Learn new things and avoid living a rigid lifestyle to enable your brain to produce sufficient dopamine.
(Luke Coutinho is Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative Medicine)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.